5 Stages of Grief and Applying to Law School

January 26, 2011 at 12:06 am (Applying to Law School, Choosing a law school)

Now that I have heard from all of the schools that I applied to, (including one very exciting surprise acceptance from a Top 25 school) its time for me to make a decision.  I am the least decisive person I know.  I evaluate both sides of the argument, weigh the pros and cons, envision what the decision may mean in terms of financial consideration, stress, or even what opportunities may later open up based on any given choice.  I follow this process for the tiniest of things, what toothpaste to purchase, whether it is worth driving another mile to the next gas station in the event their gas is cheaper, and yes of course – what law school to attend. 

Nevertheless, I am struggling.  I’ve narrowed it down to two law schools; one which I have been offered a full-tuition scholarship (which was also my original first-choice) and the one which is a Top 25 school that I have dreamed about attending since I was a little girl but have only received a 50% scholarship to. The trouble with both of these is that  I would be equally happy attending, but each school would provide dramatically different (but not necessarily more desirable) opportunities. 

Throughout this entire process, many feelings and hopes have changed. But one that has remained is anxiety.  First, I was anxious about studying for the LSAT, taking the LSAT, and waiting for my score.  Second, I was anxious about my personal statement, letters of recommendation, resume, and getting everything out to schools early but still flawlessly.  Third, I was anxious about hearing back from schools I applied to and constantly checking status checkers.  Of course, the anxiety grew incredibly once the status checker indicated a decision had been made.  Fourth (and presently), I am anxious about making the right decision. I don’t want any regret.

Applying to law school is not for the faint of heart or emotionally unstable. Which brings me to my final point: this process is similar to the 5 Stages of Grief. Allow me to further explain:

  1. Denial.  Denial that I aced the LSAT, that the law school adcomms will like me.  Denial that I am worthy or good enough.
  2. Anger.  Angry at the LSAC for taking so long to run my scantron sheet through the machine. I mean really!? How long does that take!?  Of course, there is also anger that law school committee decisions are not made within 24 hours of submitting an application.  That’s not unreasonable, right?
  3. Bargaining. You bargain with yourself; “If I scored a 155, there is no way I’m going to retake – but I doubt I scored that high.” Or, “Dear Capitol City School of Law, pleeeeeeeze consider my other offers because I reeeeeeally want to attend your school.”
  4. Depression. Offers come in and weighing the pros and cons, etc. of each is depressing. Of course, receiving a bad LSAT score can be as equally depressing, too.
  5. Acceptance. You accept things the way they are and realize that though this decision has the ability to greatly impact the rest of your life, your husband’s life, your non-existing children’s lives, your grandchildren’s lives, etc., you accept the fact that April 1 (seat deposit deadline) is around the corner and time is ticking.  


  1. Aaron said,

    I found this article that was insightful about which law school to choose.

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